Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"More of anything, Mr. Seinfeld?"

Last week, I posted an article by Jon Acuff at Stuff Christians Like Blog. If you haven't visited his site, go now. Hilarious and insightful stuff.

The article was about the dramatic difference of getting "caught" versus being "found" and called "Getting Wrecked by These Two Words."

"Found and Caught.

Sometimes, when we’ve done something we are ashamed of, when we’ve made a mistake or fallen or broken something, we fear getting caught. But what if instead we were found? What if instead of being caught, we were found by God?"

I was "found" or got "caught" by two more words this week.


Look pretty harmless, right? A conjunction and the little word "as." Conjunctions are the easiest parts of speech to learn. Remember School House Rock?

But here is where the wheels come off for me:

Luke 10:27
He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

Do you see my problem? I know I am supposed to love the Lord. I can even handle that Jesus is tossing around the "and" word pretty frequently at first. I get it that I am to love with all my heart and soul and mind.... Lots of conjucting (not a real word) but I get the point. Heck, I teach Sunday School. Love God. I teach it, I like it. But, then Jesus gets personal. "AND, Love your neighbor as yourself."

Whoa, Jesus, have you seen all these people you tell us are our neighbors? Not the nicest group of folks that he is telling me to love. If it's just the folks on my street, maybe...but he tells us that our neighbor is broader than that. (Luke 10 - That's right, same chapter.) He doesn't leave any wiggle room. I'm a lawyer, I checked. (My friend Mason Booth pointed out that in Chapter 10, Luke tells us the lawyer is trying to justify himself when the lawyer asks "Who is my neighbor?" This leads into the story of the Good Samaritan and Jesus declaring that our neighbor is anyone we meet along the road of life that is in need. Not just the person next door, or the person on my ball team, or school or the same ethnic identity or perhaps even religion.)

Notice Jesus does not say: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and if you feel led to then, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Or, and if they are nice people, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

OK OK, I get it, It will be tough but "Love God, Love Others". I think Casting Crowns sings about this so I must be able to give it a try.

Then the verse hits me harder: AS
Such a small word. But it kills me.

Question: How am I supposed to Love my neighbors?
Answer: "As" myself.

For those who know me, do you see the problem? I really am good at lavishing myself with attention and gifts to show love to me!!! Big screen TV? Sure, Bob will love it, let's get it. Bob need a vacation? You betcha. Somewhere nice. Like the Seinfeld episode where Jerry is in First Class on the plane: Flight attendant: "More of anything, Mr. Seinfeld?" Jerry: "More of everything!!"

We can even justify our behavior. "I've worked so hard that I have earned 6 days and 5 nights at the Grand Floridian at Disney World with breakfast and spa treatments included."

You get the picture? Unfortunately, I do too. Is my choice to treat myself worse or treat my neighbors better?

Is it possible for me/you/us to show others both the same level and the same amount of love that we lavish on ourselves?


  1. I feel sorry for those poor people that have been invited and come to church. Its nice and all to invite them to church, but are you going to invite them to lunch at the club too, or swimming at the lake house? How about watch a game on your big screen TV or even invite one of the poor kids over to play with yours? Its not likely that any of those things will happen 'cause if they ain't got an 'important' family name or professional job they aren't included in the click.

  2. Anonymous-
    You make a good point that should go hand in hand with what I said in the post. Love shown to those who are un-churched or de-churched or pre-christian...can't be superficial. It must be deeper. Deep enough to share with those in need. Deep enough to bear one another's burdens. If you have ever felt the way you describe, I am sorry. What you describe is not the picture of the Acts 2 church:

    Acts 2:42-47
    They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.